3 user 8 critic

May 18 (2007)

Hwa-ryeo-han-hyoo-ga (original title)
1:08 | Trailer
The story of events leading up to the 1980 Gwangju massacre in South Korea when thousands of students and protesters were killed by armed troops during an anti-government demonstration.



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Credited cast:
Kang Min-woo
Park Shin-ae
Park Heung-su
Tae-won Kwon ...
General Choi
Kang Jin-woo (as Jun-ki Lee)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bong-gi Baek
Jong-hak Baek
Lee Chang-min
Jae-Hwan Choi
Hyo-Seob Eom
Jeong-Ah Jeong
Cheol-gi Kim


Kang Min Woo leads a relatively peaceful life with his younger brother Kang Jin Woo. Min Woo has been captivated by Park Shin Ae, friend to Jin Woo and daughter to Park Heung Su. Min Woo, being shy, manipulates Shin Ae into going to the movies with him and his brother, Jin Woo, by telling her it's out of sympathy for his brother who studies too hard. The next day at the theaters, while Min Woo was in amusement from watching a film smoke began seeping in. An outburst came through the doors of a soldier beating a man to death and everyone inside ran out of the theatre in fear. That day soldiers went on a rampage against the citizens, assaulting everyone and anyone. Park Heung Su, father to Shin Ae, tried to find out what was happening by seeking out General Choi who was in-charge of this infiltration into his town. But nothing could stop the soldiers not even Heung Su who was once a general himself. The citizens form a militia were determined to protect their loved ones. Out of anger ... Written by Colleen16

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Release Date:

25 July 2007 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

May 18  »

Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

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Did You Know?


This movie title "Hwa-Ryeo-Han-Hyoo-Ga" was at that time military operation name. See more »

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User Reviews

22 August 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the 80's South Korean films as well as TV dramas were almost identically typical in their monotonous plots, stereotyped characters and lack of variety. True, those were the dark ages--ruled by army generals with not much freedom of speech or media, etc. However, interestingly enough, this movie, in the 21st century democracy, attempted to depict an unforgettable (and unforgivable) historical event of 1980 with the very 1980 methods: monotonous, stereotyped and boring... How typical! Unbelievable! It could have been (and indeed should've been) a lot greater movie if it had been for a better director, a better scriptwriter (whoever could've done a lot more research than those involved in this failure) because it--the Kwangju Massacre--was one of the most important civil uprisings in the country's modern history.

I was a kid when it happened (fortunately I was living abroad) and I remember watching the news coverage on TV. I watched this movie in a theater in Seoul, and I saw quite a few young students walking out within the first 40-50 minutes. The only reason I sat through the movie was I "knew" about this historical event. If I hadn't known at all, I wouldn't have even bothered to sit still for 30 minutes. I really wished I could either cry or laugh during the movie; I just couldn't sympathize with any part.

Many Korean filmmakers--unlike those who made "Tae Guk Gi" for example--are very capable of ruining great stories...the very true stories given to them on a silver platter so that they didn't have to agonize themselves over creating a great fiction in the first place.

I give this movie 5 stars only because it is based on a true story.

16 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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